Goals win games. And as a result, strikers cost big money. The Premier League isn’t short of quality strikers, and as the 2011/12 season looms. Here’s a look at this season’s likely top scorers and some favourites for the golden boot:
That Bent has been one of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers in recent years always comes as a surprise. Following a strong spell with Charlton, he joined Spurs but failed to establish himself. After moving to Sunderland, he proved his ability again, before joining Aston Villa in January for £27million. He scored 9 goals in 16 league games as Villa struggled, but will be a key figure as they seek to rebuild under Alex McLeish.
Despite badmouthing Manchester and repeatedly stating he’d love to return to South America, Tevez remains a Man City player. Behind the scenes problems could affect Tevez’s performances, but if his head is in the right place, he’ll be amongst the top scorers again this season.
Undoubtedly the bargain of the season, Chicarito scored 13 league goals and by the end of the season had forced his way into the Man Utd team ahead of Dimitar Berbatov. Football is littered with one season wonders, but it seems likely that Hernandez will score goals for United for years to come.
Andy Carroll’s career has come a long way. Rumoured to have been available for as little as £1million following Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship, he then joined Liverpool for over £30million in January after an exciting first half of the season with Newcastle. It will be hard for Carroll to justify that fee, but Liverpool have plenty of players who can create chances for him.
By Didier Drogba’s high standards, the 11 league goals he scored last season was somewhat of a disappointment. There were many reasons for this. Chelsea had a prolonged slump in the middle of the season, and Carlo Ancelotti struggled to find the right blend up front after the club splashed out on Fernando Torres in January. Drogba will be 34 by the time the season ends, but he’s still capable of giving defenders nightmares.
Arsenal’s Dutch striker is amongst the elite strikers in the Premier League when he’s fit. And that’s the problem. He’s been frequently injured in the last few years, which has reduced his goal tally. Van Persie will be a key player for Arsenal this season, and if he can stay healthy, he can score 20 goals.
His handball against Ghana in the quarter finals of the 2010 World Cup may have made him infamous, but it should have been his season with Ajax prior to the World Cup that made him a household name. He scored an incredible 49 goals in 48 games, including 35 in 33 league games. When he joined Liverpool in January, he immediately showed his ability with a memorable performance against Man Utd. It remains to be seen if Suarez can bring his Eredivisie form to England, but there’s no doubt he’ll score plenty of goals.
When Torres first joined Liverpool, he was a revelation. He scored freely and became a Kop favourite. Injury problems and a loss of form slowed his scoring pace, and in January, he joined Chelsea for £50million. He had a slow start to his Chelsea career, and scored just once. There’s no doubt a fit and healthy Torres is amongst the Premier League elite, but how Chelsea play will influence his goals tally.
Like Torres, Dzeko struggled to make an impact following a big money January move. Prolific in the Bundesliga, Dzeko scored just one league goal and failed to force his way into the first team. If Carlos Tevez leaves, he’ll be expected to lead the line for City, and score regularly.
Wayne Rooney undoubtedly had a poor season, despite Man Utd winning the Premier League. Fitness issues and contractual disputes with the club meant Rooney scored just 11 league goals. A spectacular overhead kick against Manchester City proved Rooney could still produce moments of magic, and it seems likely that a full pre-season will help him re-discover his best form.